Supply chain consultancy Dematic has argued that recent structural changes in the grocery market have the potential to “significantly disrupt the food distribution chain”.

In a white paper called The Great Grocery Retailing Fulfilment Challenge, Dematic said pressure was coming from the growth of e-retailing, home deliveries, and customers shifting from a big weekly shop in out-of-town sites to more frequent shops in convenience stores.

It argued that this will increase grocers ‘cost to serve’ with stores being replenished several times a day rather than once a day. There will also be the issue that some convenience stores don’t need or can’t handle full pallets, and an increased need for separation of products such as chilled and ambient when packing for home deliveries, which will all increase grocers' costs.

Dematic said grocers need to look at ensuring that the full cube of inbound delivery vehicles is optimised, as well as opening more dark stores (which are facilities like supermarkets but not open to the public).

There are needs to be more automation technology introduced to help with order picking and advanced sequencing techniques.

By David Craik